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PROBLEMATIC COMMUNICATIONS AT WORK PLACE

-An Article By Shachi Maheshwari
Career GuidanceIn the scenario of evolving corporate culture, we learn that communication is one source which can resolve and which can create ample of problems too. Any communication which is meant to resolve is also prone to varied barriers and is subject to lot of biases too. There are ample of modes of communication these days written, oral, short jargons, slangs, sarcasms, jokes, vulnerable expressions, indirect opinions, body language, formal and informal meetings, etc.

A complete and complex structure of the corporate world enhances and shrinks at the same time creating lot of possibilities of new problems at the work place too. Communication problems in the workplace can have a negative impact on relationships, motivation and productivity of employees. If not plugged and left unchecked, certain communication problems can affect the financial stability, cut into profits, lead to blunders that may negatively impact the company’s credibility or image. We can recognize and address certain common issues before they get out of hand.

Certain problems which are created due to problematic communications can be easily understood and corrected. Let’s understand them:

Half or Full Communication
These days the quick replies via whatsapp, text messages, emails, etc. help in a way but may overlook the necessity of going into the answering detail questions and give response which may be interconnected. An okay or yes to the email might not address the whole scenario and the communication will result in half rather than full communication.

This can be actually resolved if emails are shorter and precise and the responses are comprehensive and complete. Re-reading before sending is a wise way to handle responses every time.

Lost Focus
Any kind of group meetings are meant to brain storm or discuss group projects. Everyone wants to speak and everyone might assume that someone else is going to handle the ownership; this tends to lose the focus and increase the blame game and pointing fingers on every missed deadline.

The solution to these kinds of meetings might be to have a convener or pre-decide the responsibility and roles and then allow the discussion to start. Every person should be subject to question and suggestions but he is the owner to make a decision if he is responsible for the job. A mail on the group can clarify the duties, responsibilities and ownership to make the meeting simple and clear.

Hold your replies
Every time when a reply is drafted for any mail, the conversation may not be pleasant. Those drafted replies or trail of mail from a person which does not sound pleasant and needs to be answered in the spat of the moment mostly do damage more than good. A reply with the intention to make the position clear or give back rude replies to the other person, only makes the relationship suffer. When relationships suffer it becomes difficult to mend them so easily. It takes years to build them and can be spoiled just by one line of conversation.

A simple solution to the above problem is to save the corporate relationships by doing this; draft a mail and hold it for a day or a few hours. After a few hours or a couple of days of drafting (in case there is no urgency) it is wise to re-read and make changes before sending. Most of the times either you will scrap the tone of the mail or tone it down or make changes for it to look milder or just choose to not reply. This act basically helps to hold you back from reacting on the mails instantly or help you not to be immediately reactive. Mostly this will help you handle your corporate relationships more positively. Before you send, checking the content, spell check, grammar check, tone check, running them through your mental filter so that words and tone are not misconstrued, is actually quite wise.

Preparing to Prepare
If you are unprepared for a sudden development or a meeting or a discussion or a responsive debate, there are chances you would try to justify yourself in a meeting. Misunderstanding about your standing, views, efforts, behavior can make way for biases in that case.

The solution to this situation is that we can always ask for some time to revert and prepare ourselves and then revert on the topic, opinion instead of instant replies if we are not prepared. We can always ask time to prepare and then give our responses if we are not sure. There is no harm in admitting that we need more time and thereby try being more organized next time.

Appropriate tools
It is vital to understand that any communication which is not done through an appropriate tool may lead to confusion, misunderstanding or hurts. A critical issue which needs a personal meeting should not be sent over a message or a mail and a greeting to a person who is sitting just a few steps away can be given in person to improve the relationship. A quick mail for saving time and non-confrontation can sometimes result into a game spoiler or relationship spoiler. Appropriate tools are important to avoid misjudging the situation or create confusion.

The solution to a sticky situation is to select an appropriate tool. If personal meeting is not possible, a video call or similar tool may work. Body language and expression are important sometimes to deliver it right so being aware on that is wise.

Reply to relevant
With hurried replies sometimes the mails are replied to more than required persons or are inadvertently shared with more information to unrelated people by just pressing reply to all or forward without marking to relevant persons. Some information which was meant for two and was concerning the third was also marked to him wrongly spoils his taste about your views on this. All this creates unnecessary situations.

Solution to this may be to be aware of confidential views and sensitive information and refrain from giving gossip or views having highly confidential and sensitive data on trail mails or reply mails. This can avoid embarrassing situations.

People have to stop blaming and streamline their ways to communicate and adopt some best practices. Certain talk and training sessions in work place can help the staff to also orient them on it. Sometimes the problem that appears small leads to bigger hassles so better to adopt the above simple practices because-
“Your communication is the only tool which helps others to decide how much respect you deserve.”
ShachiMaheshwari

Author: Shachi Maheshwari
You may reach the author at shachimg@yahoo.com
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Published on 10/24/2018 5:28:00 PM



"Life Lessons", a book by Shachi Maheshwari
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